The Miracle of Raising a Dead Girl and Healing a Sick Woman
In the miracle of the Feeding of 5,000 we briefly touched on how being truly compassionate with others is a suffering enterprise. When we help others, we are inevitably drained. If we are not suffering ourselves, we probably aren't doing much good for the other person. In this scripture we find the one recorded account when Jesus actually relays to us what it felt like for him to heal someone.
|Cause||Healing Sick Woman||Raising Jairus' Daughter|
|Material:||Woman bleading for 12 years||Dying girl|
|Formal:||Woman restored to health||Girl alive|
|Efficient:||"Your faith has healed you."||“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”|
|Final:||"Be healed and live.”||"Be freed from your suffering."|
|Aristotle's Four Causes|
It's hard to separate these two miracles: the raising of Jairus' daughter and the healing of the woman who had bled for 12 years. They are described in three gospels as happening in close sequence. So close, that the healing of the woman is fully bracketed by Jairus' earnest plea to Jesus. Jairus, a synagogue leader, sought Jesus when he entered town to heal his dying daughter. Before Jesus even gets to Jairus, another woman is instantly healed when she just touches Jesus' cloak.
Here's the account from Mark.
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
We live in a world where we continually hedge our lives trying to keep reality from sweeping over us. We build defenses, financial bunkers, rules, walls, and laws that protect us, our children and our society from reality and in many cases we try to keep God himself from entering our lives. And I'm not only talking about the secular society. This is what religious people do. In fact, the Jewish leaders and teachers of the law did exactly this in Jesus' day. The had finely tuned the Mosaic Law and their ceremonial traditions so they would be in control of their religious reality. But no matter how hard they tried to keep control on the spiritual realm, it was bound to break forth. And it did for Jairus. This is what Jesus was teaching us about in the parable of the bursting of the wineskins.
When Jairus found Jesus, his religious facade was crumbling around him. I can imagine that he was an outstanding religious leader at the time. He probably thought that he had everything under his control, his life, his family, his world. He understood the law and he was in the correct class. He was able to closely follow all the rules.
But God had a different plan for him. God's reality burst forth into his life. His daughter was dying. But he had heard of Jesus. He found him and fell at his feet and begged him for mercy for his daughter. In his compassion and love, Jesus went with Jairus to save his daughter and to save Jairus' spiritual life as well.
What religious or social facade do you live under today? How does that facade close you off in your relationship with God? Social facades are social contracts which are absolutely no different than religious structures. They are ultimately a device to keep us in control and many of us use these structures to keep God's kingdom out of our lives and out of others' lives as well.
So in the midst of Jairus' crumbling world, a sick woman enters the scene seeing her salvation in the flesh. She knows that all she needs to do is to touch his garment and be healed. She does so and Jesus physically felt "power" leave him. Once again, Jesus had to be broken in order to heal others. We are under the same supernatural law. We must suffer if we are to help others. If we don't, something's not right at all.
But what is it about the garment, in certain Christian traditions people seek out relics from the Saints in order to bring healing. How on earth could that be effective? The cloak is not the same as Christ Jesus, is it? Is that what Jesus is teaching us here? What we're learning about is faith. What is acting here is the 'efficient cause' or the supernatural law of faith in action. Jesus said to the woman that her faith had healed her. Jesus said to Jairus to just believe and be not afraid. When someone sees a relic, visits a 'holy' place, or touches a garment worn by someone in kinship with Jesus, faith can well up inside a person's life. A person can become overwhelmed by the reality of Jesus Christ. For many, this can be a healing experience, because what they were lacking was faith. They needed to see something with their eyes. They may have needed to touch something with their hands.
Then it is as if Jesus says to them, "Yes, Beloved, I am real. Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
But even if we are one of the many that are called to endure suffering, the power leaving us is being used by God. Nothing is wasted by the Lord of creation.